DMS — A Digital Music Stand

What is the Digital Music Stand (DMS)?

The basic idea is to use a computer monitor to display your music scores instead of using pieces of paper.

The idea originated when I was watching a video about a Cathedral organ. It struck me that such a sophisticated musical instrument did not have a means of turning the page, and someone has to reach across the organist to move pieces of paper about.

The DMS runs on a Raspberry Pi computer, and will display on a PC monitor or TV that supports HDMI. a 24-inch monitor is ideal. You will also need a PC keyboard and mouse.

If you want to mount the Raspberry Pi on the back of the monitor, a VESA mount might be useful.

Raspberry Pi photo: Multicherry [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Monitor photo: Petr Kratochvil Public Domain via overlaid with Air in G (J.S. Bach). Public domain via

How to operate it

To set up, upload electronic copies of your score into the DMS to create a playlist. Then, during your performance, you can change page by pressing keys on the computer keyboard.

Press any key on the right-hand-side of the keyboard to show the next page

Press any key on the left-hand-side of the keyboard to show the previous page

The idea is that you don't need to be accurate when hitting the keyboard to move forwards or backwards through the playlist. You can just reach across and bash the keyboard in approximately the right place to change page.

Detailed instructions

Install the DMS software on a Raspberry Pi, following the instructions in the file "README.txt".

The application runs as a webserver, and launches a browser window for the user interface. Open a terminal window and type ~/

The first time you run the DMS, you will be asked to upload files with your scores on (currently, only image files — JPEG, GIF, PNG etc — are supported), then organise them into scores, and then add the scores to a playlist. Once you have a playlist, you can click the "play" button to display the scores.

When you restart the DMS on subsequent occasions, the first page of the playlist will be displayed by default. The settings pages are accessible via a button in the top-right corner of the screen.

Press the F11 key to make the window full-screen (and to undo full-screen after the performance)

Press any key on the right-hand-side of the keyboard to show the next page

Press any key on the left-hand-side of the keyboard to show the previous page

Currently, only a UK-English keyboard is supported, and the "gap" between left and right is the buttons "6, Y, G, H, B and N"

Further Hardware ideas

Use an old laptop

The DMS is written using "Python" and "Flask", so should run on any Linux system with a GUI. (I developed it on my laptop that is running Fedora Linux)

Mounting a monitor on a microphone stand

It should be possible to mount the monitor on a Microphone stand. You will need a good quality, sturdy microphone stand to take the weight, and a VESA attachment, like this (photo from eBay). Search online for "VESA mount Microphone stand"

Make your own foot pedal board

To control the DMS during a performance, you may want foot pedal switches so your hands are free to play your instrument. You will need 2 foot-pedal switches: one to go "forwards" a page and one to go backwards a page.

A simple way to make a foot pedal is to modify an old PC keyboard, following these instructions on Youtube.
(open video in new window)

If you're happy with a bit of soldering, you could try making your own foot pedal, using the circuit board in a keyboard..
(open video in new window)

Note you may also need an unmodified keyboard to control the DMS at other times. It's OK to have 2 keyboards plugged in at once.


How do I get hold of the software?

It's under development at the moment. If you want to try out an early version, Contact me for the code.

Can't I already do that with an iPad App?

Yes, you can, there are several apps available to display music score PDFs. However, the iPad screen isn't as large as a sheet of A4 paper. I wanted to display the music at something closer to life-size, and possibly get two sheets of score side-by-side.

How do I get 2 sheets of score side-by-side?

At the moment, the DMS software doesn't support this. You can accomplish this by stitching together 2 score images in a photo editor (e.g. Photoshop or The GIMP)

Where can I get hold of music?

First, I do need to clarify that copying and sharing music score is not acceptable. It denies musicians of the royalties from selling their compositions.
There are, however, sites where Public Domain music can be downloaded, for example IMSLP and

At the moment, the DMS can only use image files, like JPEGs. Regrettably, it does not currently support PDFs.